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Erie County provides further guidance on the reopening of gyms, fitness centers

Dumbbells Gyms
Posted at 5:23 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 17:23:38-04

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health has provided further guidance on the reopening of gyms and fitness centers.

Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo released reopening protocols for gyms and fitness centers in New York State. Gyms can reopen as soon as August 24, but must follow state guidelines, which are listed in part as follows:

  • 33 percent capacity.
  • Masks worn at all times.
  • Ventilation (HVAC) requirements.
  • Localities must inspect gyms and determine whether they can have indoor classes.

Detailed state guidelines can be found here.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Tuesday a blanket approval for fitness centers and gyms to reopen on August 24 under specific conditions.

All fitness centers and gyms seeking to reopen must review the New York Forward guidelines and affirm the business will follow those guidelines. The businesses will also need to submit a request form to the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) so a public health sanitarian can schedule an inspection at the facility.

Friday ECDOH said it will be inspecting the following facilities:

  • Stand alone gyms
  • Gyms located inside hotels
  • Gyms located inside apartment/condo facilities
  • Gyms located inside office buildings
  • Yoga/pilates/barre studios
  • Group fitness classes (spinning, dancing, rowing)
  • Dance facilities/studios
  • Boxing/kickboxing/martial arts studios
  • Fitness boot camps, cross fit camps or other plyometric boxes

ECDOH also said each facility will need to provide the following:

  • Proof from a HVAC company that the HVAC system has been evaluated, that the appropriate filters are in place per the guidance or that additional measures have been implemented as per the guidance. It should be noted that failure to provide this documentation will result in the facility being closed until such time as the work is completed.
  • A copy of the NY Forward safety plan completed by the facility on site for review.
  • Agreement that communal uses of equipment and spaces, which create the highest risk for infection, must be discontinued (communal showers, hot tubs, water fountains, etc.) If they are in use the facility may be subject to closure or fines and they will have to provide an updated safety plan for correction.
  • No obvious egregious violations of capacity limitations, approved face mask use and physical distancing. If sanitarians find that the operator is not following or enforcing the rules in their business, they could be subject to fines and closure.
  • Acknowledgement by ECDOH that the facility is operating in compliance with the NYS guidelines on screening, on-site activities, protective equipment, and hygiene, cleaning and disinfection practices.

If a facility has a swimming pool, the pool must also be inspected before opening.

“Thorough inspections of each facility is an important step in our continued response to the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We want to ensure that the users of each one of these locations and their employees will be able to be as safe as possible.”